The List: Another Way to Heal from Narcissistic Abuse

Bonnielee Cuevas
Jan 17, 2019 · 4 min read
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

I have learned that healing is forever. We continue to level up, but we are always healing. Sometimes we will continue to work on the same things that have plagued us for years and sometimes we are sorting out new shit that comes along with the mishaps of life because it happens and we can’t always control that. We can only control ourselves and the work we do to improve and live our best life.

I am 7-months into healing from my previous relationship and let me tell you it has not been easy. I was in love with someone who had Narcissistic Personality Disorder. And if you know anything about this type of person you know that it is like jumping from a cliff and at first you feel alive, and you are soaring and then panic sets in because there is a realization that you are going to crash, and you have no parachute, you have no safety net, and then it happens! YOU CRASH, and parts of you shatter, and other parts of you die.

The past 7-months as strange as this may sound has felt like a detox. I was detoxing from the mental and emotional abuse. I even found myself backsliding, and in then the backsliding turned into bouts of anger and rage and me being incredibly reactionary. It was not my proudest moment. But it was another awakening and another realization that I want to go on this adventure called life solo for a while. I want my life to make me salivate, I want it to be filled with everything that I love and that I am passionate about. I want it to be about ME and for that reason, I continue to pour into myself, and I do so obsessively.

But like I mentioned above, sometimes you backslide because in these types of relationships the narcissist’s manipulation is so damn perfect that they have somehow made you addicted to the highs and lows. You crave it, and you find yourself drifting back into old habits. But who wants that. No one wants to live like that, and I had to find a significant way to counter that so began — the list. A friend of mine who is 1-year into recovering from this type of abuse had suggested that I write a running list of all the bad things that I encountered in my relationship. She told me to keep this running list of all the bad things that were done to me by this person on my phone and to look at it every time I remembered the one good thing versus the dozens of bad things that happened because we tend to remember the good and forget all the bad. And just like good people have bad days, bad people have good days.

So I began my list and at first, it was painful to relive these moments. But then it became cathartic, and I knew that these were not little mistakes, misunderstandings, or carelessness on my ex’s part. These things were awful, terrible and toxic. The list stands today at 100. These are all of the things that I encountered in this relationship, and my list continues to grow. But something strange happened after I began to face what happened to me every time I wrote it down…the list started to empower me. I took responsibility for myself. I now knew all of the things that I would never allow in a relationship and all of the parts of myself that were never meant to be shared. I began to look at it whenever I felt a backslide, or a pull on my heartstrings. It was a reminder that no one that loves you, should ever do those things.

And then something else happened. I was talking to another friend (I have a lot of those fantastic friends, trust me I count myself super lucky), and she asked me “Where is your list?” I didn’t understand the question, so I asked her “ What do you mean?” to which she replied… “Where is your list? The one where you write down all of the good things that you have done, or all of the good things people have said you have done?” And just like that, I leveled up. A new list that detailed all of the good within me and about me began. In this list I found the strength step up into another layer of my healing.

Bonnielee Cuevas

Written by

Healer, Creatrix. Storyteller. Wanderer. Host of the Untamed W/Bonnielee Podcast. Empowering You to Heal, Evolve & Live Untamed. Info:

More From Medium

Also tagged Self

Top on Medium

Ed Yong
Mar 25 · 22 min read


Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade